Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 21, 2018

Superintendent brings experience, leadership to WHS

May 01, 2018

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL

Last week, the Washington School Board selected William Stone as the district’s new superintendent, who will bring many years of experience with him when he comes to Washington in July.

There were several things about Stone that stood out to the school board during the interview process.

“He has 13 years of experience and during those 13 years he’s had a variety of positive experiences,” school board president Eric Turner said. “He understands how to financially manage a district during times where school funding is at a lower level, so he understands the process and what’s involved with that.”

Funding at a state level seems to be at a downward trend, so it’s nice to have a superintendent who can work through that, he added.

Stone has also been through different facility projects and has updated facilities.

“Which is another one of our goals,” Turner said. “To develop a 10- year facility plan.”

Stone has worked on student and parent relationships in his current district, which is a key component to Turner.

“If you can have the parent and students engaged then they feel like they’re connected [and] have more opportunity and more learning, so we’re excited about the program he hopes to bring to Washington,” Turner said.

Stone also has experience with standard reference grading. Washington Middle School is working on switching to standard based grading, which is a little different from what Stone had in his previous district, but he’s been through that process on educating the community about the grading changes and can bring those experiences with him to Washington, he added.

One thing the board decided not to do next year was have Stone serve as a shared superintendent with WACO Community School District, even though Stone is working as a shared superintendent today.

“That was a hard decision,” Turner said. “We had a lot of discussion with that just because there’s financial benefits to the district for that.”

The board came down to the conclusion that whoever they chose to hire, it wouldn’t be the best thing for them to work as a shared superintendent the first year they’re here.

“It’s just too much, I think,” Turner said. “Getting to know one community, one school district, one group of staff — that’s hard enough to ask somebody to do that.”

Turner said he felt Stone would do a good job as shared superintendent, but adjusting to the changes would be even harder because Stone will have to help his family through the transistion as well, he added.

“WACO’s been a really great partner,” Turner said. “Mr. Dicks has done a really good job. He had a year, though, to work into trying to get to know Washington and then trying to make that transition. If the opportunity would be there again down the road we would look at that just because WACO has been so good to work with.”

The Washington Community School District will lose $120,000 from not continuing the shared superitendent agreement, which might affect other sharing agreements they have with WACO, but the board knew that was a risk they’d have to take, he said.

“But we also knew it was a risk to put the new superintendent in that position,” Turner added. “We just want to make sure he gets off on a very positive first year.”

Stone will start his position in the Washington Community School District as superintendent on July 1.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Glen Peiffer | May 06, 2018 17:46

I guess I prefer the old fashion study carrel that gives a student privacy and that is quiet so that you can concentrate. The Fairfield space is great for a social gathering with lots of talking. I always wanted these at the Washington library when I was in high school.

Facelift for Fairfield High School library

By Jon Gilrain, Ledger correspondent | May 04, 2018

Photo by: JON GILRAIN/Ledger photo Fairfield High School librarian Jolene Bullis is proud of the renovations to the library completed earlier this year.

Fairfield High School recently renovated its library creating a clean, open and inviting space for students to relax and focus on their studies.

The Ledger sat down with librarian Jolene Bullis to talk about the library and its fresh coat of paint.

Walking into the library one is struck by the aesthetics of light and spaciousness. On the one end are large wooden tables that beg for books and projects to be spread over their generous surfaces. The larger part of the room is open with clusters of chairs for students to gather or find their own space, ringed by wooden book shelves against the walls.

The ceiling lights are numerous and appropriate to an environment dedicated to reading and learning, yet are slightly understated in their intensity so as to not be harsh. The newly painted white walls and clean new ceiling tiles provide reflectivity giving the light an almost three-dimensional quality.

The new carpet’s pattern of muted, but pleasant neutral gradients tie the large space together with a feeling of inviting depth. The wall opposite the entrance has doors to three conference rooms and the librarian’s office and the far wall has a large window looking in on the library’s second room, which hosts nonfiction books and additional study and meeting space.

“The carpet was from 1988. It was originally probably a burgundy color, but it had faded out to an ugly pink,” Bullis said. “It had rips in it and I had patched it with hot-pink duct tape, and it was pretty bad. So they replaced the carpet and the paint.”

Bullis continued, “The walls were kind of a 1980s peachy-tan color. They did the ceiling tiles and the lighting was brighter, but it was harsh lighting. Now it makes me smile when I come in here.”

Bullis has been librarian at FHS for six years, as well as yearbook advisor and assistant speech teacher. She had previous experience as a librarian and special education teacher at CAL Community School in Lattimer. Her mother was also a school librarian.

The FHS library offers many services to students beyond book checkout and study spaces such as online access to the catalog and other databases useful in academics. Loaner computers are available if a student’s school-issued laptop is in for repair or forgotten for the day. The library also lends video cameras for school projects and art supplies.

“Students come in to read, they come in to work together and to socialize. They come in for books and to record things for projects,” she added.

Speaking of work yet to be done, Bullis mentioned the secondary room needing the same treatment as well as replacing furniture, both the seating and the large heavy tables which are not easy to move.

“I’m not done yet. I want there to be more art on the walls and get new furniture,” she said. “Principal [Brian] Stone is working to see if we can generate some community involvement in getting the furniture replaced.”

Stone, who was directly involved with the renovations, was enthusiastic about the upgrades and impressed with the quality of work.

“I’m excited for our kids. It’s a nice open space that students feel a little more comfortable collaborating in,” he said. “I see more kids in there than I saw before. They enjoy the space and so we’re very fortunate. I really applaud the crew that came in and did all the work including Mr. [Jeff] Koontz, the facilities director and the rest of the men.”

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